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What is a Member Check-In?

At Bellhouse CrossFit, we aren’t just here to sell memberships… we are here to get our members results. One way we make this happen is through Member Check-Ins. These are done once a quarter, and are 15-20 minute meetings with your coach. During this time, we check on progress made and the direction we hope to see in the future. Our coaches take this very seriously and work with you to create a road map toward your specific goals. 

Member Check-Ins typically start with an In-Body scan. Bellhouse owns an In-body 570 scanner kept here on site. We use this medical grade scanner to accurately estimate your lean body mass and body fat percentage. However, the scanner also tells us a list of other cool things like how much water you are holding and if there are any imbalances of muscle in your body. This scan will also give you insight on visceral fat levels. Visceral fat is how much fat you have located around your organs. If it is at high levels, you are associated with increased risk of chronic disease.

After being scanned, the coach will go over the results and give you a picture of where your body is at that moment. Next the coach discusses any fitness/health related goals you have and talks about four key things they may affect them.

Sleep. Nutrition. Exercise. Stress Management. 

These are the four main variables we focus on which affect health and fitness.

Member Check-Ins are included in the 3x/week and unlimited membership options. At Bellhouse CrossFit, we are committed to getting our members results. We set out to create a tribe of Humble, Hungry, Healthy people that kick-ass all the way until their 90s. 

Are you ready to join us? Give me a shout at 832-205-2537. You can also email me at  [email protected] if you are interested in a “No Sweat” intro to talk about what we offer and get you going in the direction of health and fitness. 

Yours in Health and Fitness,

Chris Sawyer (Owner/Coach)


Comparing Stretching to Massage

    Stretching is lengthening tissues. Massage is clearing tissues. When you stretch, the goal is to improve flexibility. When you get a massage, the goal is to improve range of motion. What if I told you our traditional ways of thinking about stretching and massage were incorrect?

    Instead of the old model of, “let’s stretch to get more flexible!” or “I’m going to get a massage so I am not as sore,” we will use range of motion as our predictor of success. What is range of motion? With your shoulders and butt against the wall, can you keep your elbows straight and raise your hands in front of you, overhead? How far can you go? That is range of motion. Maybe you have complete range and can get your hands to the wall overhead. Maybe you get stuck halfway. Maybe you can do it, but you have to bend your elbows, or your hips come off the wall. For sound overhead mobility, our goal to improve range of motion in the shoulders will be to practice this movement.

    Stretching is loaded resistance training. Think about this in terms of bending over and touching your toes. This probably stretches out your hamstrings. If you added weights to both hands, now we have some resistance training going on. When we begin to reframe stretching in our head as resistance training, we can approach what we do in the gym more mindful. 

    Improved fitness comes from increasing our capacity to move large loads over large distances quickly. Having the range of motion to move loads is crucial. We improve our range by exercise. The lizard lunge, or active spiderman we use during warmups at the gym is a great example. If you continually moved through that position, you would feel tired. That is an exercise! The stretch we normally think of to increase your hip range of motion is now an unloaded resistance tool. 

    Squats. At the bottom of the squat, we are expressing a flex in the knees, then an extension in the quads as you stand. Holding the bottom of the squat with load will create an even greater flex and extension. If the goal is to increase range of motion, getting into the end range position is important. Stretch can be analogous to resistance training. It is the sensation you feel at the end range. The tissues are working hard to hold your structure together.

    Lastly, think stretching to improve muscle tissues. Think massage to clear muscle tissues. In the same way there is traffic on the highway, massage clears out the traffic in your muscles. When you do an exercise, you stretch the tissue along the highway, making it longer and leaner. Do you still have questions? Reach out to [email protected] to learn more or book a personal training session and feel the difference between a stretch and a massage. 


Gary Horican Member Transformation

Who are you? What is something most people do not know about you?

My name is Gary. I don’t really know. I have to think about this for a minute… I played lacrosse in college! I left with an injury though. It was sad. During a game, I was stick checked on my left hand twice within a short time. I had been playing lacrosse since fifth grade and I loved it. It was hard to stop. I have also played hockey since a young age. I look forward to playing Men’s League Hockey when I move home to Vermont in the future. 

Why do you keep coming back to Bellhouse CrossFit?

I like the variety of the workouts. It gives me a sense of sport. Since moving away from organized sport during college, I have found fulfillment in CrossFit. All of the gyms I attended in the past had structure. I appreciate that! I love that all I need to do is put on clothes, and the coach takes care of the rest. The programming at Bellhouse CrossFit is my favorite compared to other gyms in the area. After attending a few weeks, I fell in love with the coaches and the community. I can’t see myself at any other gym. 

What are the accomplishments you are most proud of since joining the gym?

Being able to clean over 200 pounds. Just a few years ago I could not achieve this. Just the other day I was still able to clean 225 pounds! I consider this a huge accomplishment. I am coming up on my eight year CrossFit anniversary on October 1st. At Bellhouse, I had a personal record with weightlifting. My clean and jerk and deadlift have both increased. 

How did you overcome some of the obstacles in starting your health journey?

Consistency and accountability are huge for me. I heard a quote, “I’m not where I want to be… but I know how to get there.” I have learned about nutrition and training thanks to the coaches. And since I travel for work, Bellhouse is my thirteenth different gym membership. Anytime I set up in a new place I need to get started right away to maintain consistency and accountability from the coach and community. 

What is your current focus or goal in the gym?

I am currently working on cutting weight for gymnastics. I lost some weight during Nutrition Coaching at Bellhouse, and want to lose more. I have a plan and know if I stick to it, I will reach my goal by the end of the year. 

What is your favorite fishing spot?

Mexico. You can get a super slam in one day. That is a bonefish, tarpon, permit, and a snook in one day. 

What is your favorite exercise?

Cleans and Snatches

What is your favorite type of coffee?

Green Mountain Nantucket Blend

What is your dream date with your dog?

Hiking with my dog Clara in Vermont

What is your favorite get away place?

Steamboat Springs


What is CrossFit?

    CrossFit is a movement methodology. It is defined as constantly varied, functional movement, executed at high intensity.

    Let us unpack that first. Movement is exercise. Exercise is health. I do not believe I need to explain why exercise is healthy. If so, you have stumbled upon a revelation today. A methodology is a framework. It is a blueprint. It is a way to condense theories into methods. So a movement methodology is… how to be healthy. CrossFit is a way to be healthy.

    Constantly Varied. This means the movements and exercises we do are different on a daily basis. You will squat, press, jump, pull, row, bike, run, lunge. One workout may have 100 dumbbell thrusters for time. Another workout may be to spend one minute on the bike, rower, and running for 5 rounds. Another workout may be to do 30-20-10 push ups and barbell deadlifts. These elegant combinations are constantly varied. The time domain of the workout, the rep scheme, the weights (or lack thereof) are each different. CrossFit’s workouts are different each day. 

    Functional Movement. This means we will perform exercises which have a direct carryover to real life. We are going to do things in the gym which help you be a stronger, leaner, more resilient human being. We are going to bulletproof you. We are going to target large muscle groups. When you pick something off the ground, you do a deadlift. When you put something overhead, you do a press. When you sit down and stand up, you do a squat. We see combinations of these movements in the gym to help you excel at life. Why do we care? Because life is unpredictable. You being healthy and ready to tackle life’s circumstances is one of our goals at Bellhouse. CrossFit’s workouts prepare you for the unknown and unknowable. 

    High Intensity. This means power. We workout fast. CrossFit is taught with the idea of mastering mechanics first. After we can do the movements properly, and for several reps, then we master consistency. Then and only then we layer on intensity. Intensity is the shortcut to results. It is the least common denominator for improving your fitness. Fitness is increased capacity to move large loads quickly (more on that later). Casually working out will not lead to better health or results. You must be intentional. We want you to see results and benefit from our coaching. To be intense in a workout means to raise the heart rate. This is correlated with improved bio markers such as lower resting heart rate, improved heart rate variability, better blood flow, and increased bone density. CrossFit’s workouts are fast and explosive.

Why does CrossFit succeed where other movement methodologies have failed to show results for many people? It is because CrossFit has defined fitness and shown measurable results since coming into the fitness industry during the mid-2000’s. Fitness is defined as work capacity across broad time, modal, and age domains. There is no other workout routine which can beat the athletes doing CrossFit. When it comes to competing in work capacity, our athletes are the best. There is no argument anymore about the fittest athletes on the planet. CrossFit athletes are not specialists. We are not the fastest. We are not the strongest. We are not the most flexible. We are the most well rounded, bulletproof, and hard working bad asses on the planet. 

Are you ready to get started and train with intention? Email [email protected] to ask any questions about CrossFit and to begin your journey. At Bellhouse CrossFit, your health is our priority!


How to Workout with an Injury

    Injuries are part of life. We are not robots. Let me remind you… YOU ARE NOT A ROBOT! It can be easy to believe you are impervious to disease, infection, food poisoning, and muscle aches. These unfavorable conditions happen to everyone. An injury may be more than a broken bone or strained muscle. An injury is any ailment that causes you to modify your routine from the baseline.

    In our group classes at Bellhouse CrossFit, it is your responsibility to communicate with your coach about any injuries you have. At the beginning of class, the coach asks, “Does anyone have any new aches or pains? Please let me know before the warmup.” This is your chance to figure out the plan for that day. Sometimes you have a stomach ache from what you ate before the workout, so the coach may modify some full body movements so that you do not hurl. Another example may be you have a sore muscle from the prior workout. The coach could modify the movement to target another muscle group. You might have drank the day before so intensity needs to be decreased. Check in with coach for how to dial in the workout.

    You can workout with an injury. It takes some imagination, creativity, and the expertise of your Bellhouse coach. We are trained to work with clients who have injuries. For example, let’s say you strain your adductor. The adductor is the muscle group on your inner thigh, most commonly associated with your groin. If you have pulled your adductor muscle, then squats may be out of the question. How can we still work the legs and lower back without squatting? Your coach may prescribe you to hinge. Lunges, Kettlebell Swings, and Good Mornings are a few examples. Maybe the coach will give you another muscle group to target such as banded glute bridges. This is just one example we see in the gym.

    We also offer personal training for injuries and bulletproofing for your fine self. Ask a coach you feel comfortable with to help. Our work culture requires a lot of sitting. This leads to back issues, rounded shoulders, and poor posture. Add in some intensity before you master the mechanics, and you find yourself with an injury. Take the time to learn the movements during class before working out fast. We can master the mechanics and even learn new exercises during personal training. It may be the option that is right for you.

    Lastly, working out with an injury helps you stay realistic. Our ancestors did not quit hunting or gathering food when they received an injury. They needed to move! You can move too. In fact, moving and exercising is the fastest path to heal injuries. The method of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is incorrect. The guy, Gabe Mirkin who came up with RICE even said, “Sorry, I was wrong.” The new method is MEAT (Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, Treatment). To learn more about Dr. Mirkin, check out this article…

So come on by Bellhouse CrossFit, and learn how to move your body safely, even with an injury. Email [email protected] to schedule a personal training session. 


What is Nutrition Coaching?

    Nutrition Coaching is an opportunity to receive one-on-one attention for your diet, habits, and performance. 

    What is a nutrition coach you ask? We are here to help you! That is weight loss for many. It can also be weight gain, muscle definition, improved sleep. Our list of expertise in helping you achieve your physical goal goes on and on. Just as your class coach, the nutrition coach spends time with you… but without distraction. When you sign up for nutrition coaching, you get at least 30 minutes twice a month to cover any nutrition questions you have and complete an InBody scan. We are also available to you via the myPT app or text messaging when you have a question about nutrition.

    We make an effort to talk to our nutrition clients throughout the week. We want you to know this journey does not have to be alone. You are paying for a high value service. We offer this premium service to you because we care about your results. If you do not see the results you are paying for, then stop paying! That won’t be a problem with us because we have seen our current clients lose fat and gain muscle since starting nutrition coaching in May. 

    During the nutrition consultation, you will discuss goals with the coach. Some clients want to lose body fat. Others may want to improve muscle definition or put on more muscle weight. Whatever the goal is, we will help you get there. We have already seen several clients experience success with weight loss and building muscle! The day to day habits nutrition coaching develops for you will stay as long as you practice them! We believe in a sustainable approach to nutrition coaching. I don’t want to put you on a restrictive diet to lose twenty pounds in a month only to put it all back on. Our hope is to support you in finding what works for you. The best diet will be that which you can see yourself doing in one year from now. 

    How long do you recommend nutrition coaching? We recommend three to six months. That is the proper amount of time to develop a habit you can stick with. We also believe you have spent a lot of time making your body the way it currently is. It will take some time to reverse the process. 

    Are you ready to begin nutrition coaching? Email [email protected] to begin the process. Blair will pair you with Josh Blasdel or himself, depending on your specific needs, schedule, and preference. Nutrition coaching is $180 per month. 


What is Personal Training?

    Personal Training is individualized coaching. It is an opportunity to work one-on-one with one of the excellent staff here at Bellhouse CrossFit. We spend an hour together progressing towards your health and fitness goals.

    Personal Training looks different for each person. One athlete may want to tone their arms. Another athlete may want the one-on-one attention that group classes cannot provide. Another athlete may want some help on their double unders. For each of these examples, the coach will write up an individual session plan and implement it with the client.

    Here at Bellhouse CrossFit, our goal in offering PT sessions is to provide more value to you, our loyal members. The group class is our most discounted option. Personal training may be the logical next step in helping you reach your goals. 

    You can consult with Blair or Chris before or after a general class to decide whether or not personal training is right for you. Some members love attending the group classes to sweat and maintain their functional fitness. That is great! We love that you are making it to the gym at least an hour a day. For those of you that are not seeing the results you want, it may take longer in the group classes. To speed up the process, you can consider buying a personal training package to implement alongside your group sessions. 

    The hour-long session will be catered to you. It may still look like a group class, depending on your reason for training. For example, an athlete that prefers to be taught one-on-one will do a workout that is written for them, including the general and specific warm up… as well as teaching. This mirrors the group class session plan.

    Do you have an injury that scares you from working out? That is another solution that PT can offer. Personal training allows the coach and you to spend special time together getting to know your injury. We can make a plan for you to try at home, and can continue spending time together each week to ensure you are on track to healing and getting back to the life you love so much.

    Bellhouse CrossFit has a mission to impact the health of the individual, their family, and the community. We want to provide solutions to your health and fitness, not a bandaid or quick fix. We will help you reach your goals, because we value your time, money, and commitment to our brand. Every individual personal training session is priced at $75. The package for 12 sessions is valued at $810, which is $67.50 per hour. The package which includes 24 personal training sessions costs $1530, at $63.75 per hour. Book a session via the Wodify Athlete app!


Brian Bowden Member Transformation

Who are you? What is something most people don’t know about yourself?

Hey, my name is Brian. I have been married to my wife Elizabeth for seven years and we have two boys, Jackson and Judah. I love crossfit and my friends at the gym. Even though I have been attending the gym for a while, I still get nervous before working out. It is like a nervous excitement. Sometimes I’ll chew gum as a way to focus and that tends to help, I used to do that whenever I played drums. I am glad I get nervous! It means that I take it seriously . I like pushing myself to a point I did not know I could go before. Growing up I wasn’t very athletic and didn’t value fitness…having this environment where I can push myself and discover my threshold has helped me learn new things about myself too!

Why do you continue attending Bellhouse CrossFit?

Like most people, it starts with relationships. My best friends go here. I love the physical challenge. It is pushing past the physical point I did not know I would ever get to. If I were in a gym by myself, I would not give the same effort the coach pushes me to give in class.  For myself, people are encouraging me to reach a new level, try a new skill or add more weight to the bar. I haven’t seen that at other places. Another part is the level of trust from the staff. I know I can trust my coach. I know they are thinking of and will give me good feedback. It all depends on the day. Sometimes it’s about movement, other days it’s the crossfit games (okay so not really). I can modify the workout to suit me for that day, and everyone is on my side. 

What are the accomplishments you are most proud of since joining the gym?

Bar muscle ups for sure (shout out Coach Chris). 100 plus double unders unbroken. I am finally getting handstand push ups. Honestly, the overall level of fitness. I went on a vacation last month and ran around the island. I started with five miles… I ended up doing EIGHT miles! Prior to beginning my fitness lifestyle, I couldn’t even run a whole mile. 

How did you overcome some of the obstacles in starting your health journey?

It all started for me when I knew I needed to make a change. I saw myself gaining weight and feeling more and more unhealthy. I started CrossFit. For me it’s all about consistency.And I am training smarter now. I used to just workout and go home and do my same habits. Now I think about sleep and nutrition more. I started here because my friend Josh Blasdel. I was going to a globo gym first. He invited me to CrossFit about 20 times and I finally gave in. I am so glad my friend continued to peer pressure me. Thanks Coach B!

What is your current focus or goal in the gym?

I want to get ring muscle ups. I want to get down to 10% body fat or less. For me, that goal would mean that I made it. I think it would be really cool to get 500 double unders unbroken. I am currently at 212.  so I’ve got some work to do. 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Shapeshifter or eating whatever I wanted. Is that even a super power?

What is your favorite exercise?

Toes to bar

If you have unlimited time to learn a new hobby, what would you do?

I would learn to pilot an airplane. Or ride a unicycle. 

What profession would you work if you were living in the Middle Ages?

Breadmaker! Who doesn’t love a good pastry? 

How do you fall asleep?

10mg of melatonin. 45 minutes of book reading. A full glass of water. It has to be dark in the room. I start this process an hour before I actually fall asleep.